It’s never a good sign when the Guilford County Audit Committee calls a special meeting to go behind closed doors to discuss a personnel issue regarding the county’s finances with the county attorney.
Audit Committee meetings, like other county committee meetings, are open to the public – and the Audit Committee never goes into closed session to discuss, say, a finding that the county has found much more in its savings account than it knew it had, or in order for committee members to be told by auditors that everything is perfectly fine.
Special closed Audit Committee meetings are almost always called when there’s some sort of problem with the county’s finances or financial records – and, on Wednesday, Nov. 8, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners’ Audit Committee called a special meeting to be held on Monday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. in the Bob Shaw Conference room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House at 301 W. Market St. in downtown Greensboro.
But you might not want to go – because you’ll be kicked out of the room when they discuss the most interesting item.
The purpose of the committee meeting is to “receive a report from the external auditor on their audit of the County’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report” and to “enter into closed session, pursuant to [NC General Statutes] to consult with the County Attorney and discuss a personnel matter.”
When the equation is as follows: closed meeting plus county attorney plus the stated reason of discussing a personnel matter at a special called meeting related to the findings of an audit of the county’s books – well, all that, when added up, likely equals a problem.
It may be that no one ever discovers the nature of the conversation that will be had Monday morning because personnel matters are one of the few exceptions of state public records law – and employee misbehavior is one of the few things that a county committee can legally discuss in closed session.
The private session portion of the meeting is being closed off to the public using NC General Statute 143-318.11 (a) (6) as the reason. One of the several listed justifications for closing a meeting under that statute is “to hear or investigate a complaint, charge, or grievance by or against an individual public officer or employee.”